Combatting Concussions

By Jennifer Lee.

Rochester, N.Y. – From soldiers in the battlefield to young athletes in Rochester, a company based in Henrietta called BlackBox Biometrics, Inc. will launch its high-tech sensor monitoring concussions in sports this year.

Called Linx IAS, the concussion sensor sends head impact data directly to smart devices, like your phone or tablet, in real time.

The company has been testing the Linx IAS in youth and high school sports teams in the area, including Penfield High School Football and Canandaigua Youth Lacrosse.

The Varsity boxing team at Aquinas Institute has been using the sensor since 2014.

“You don’t see something like this every day,” said Michael Robertson, a member of the varsity boxing team. “It’s cool that I got to be the test dummy, and it works.”

In boxing, the head and face area is a prime target area a fighter will punch to score points.

Robertson said he has been knocked down a few times, but has never been knocked out in the ring or suffered a concussion from fighting.

“My number one job as coach or director of the boxing here at Aquinas is to keep the kids safe,” Head Coach Dominic Arioli said. “Not to teach them boxing; it’s to keep them safe.”

Athletes like Robertson wear the Linx IAS inside a band or cap on their head. It lights up green, yellow or red to show the level of impact, with red being most severe.

“You don’t even know it’s there,” said Robertson. “When you’re in the ring and you put it on, you can’t tell that it’s there.”

David Borkholder, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of BlackBox Biometrics, Inc., is proud of the device.

“It’s incredibly thin, it’s flexible and we have some really robust algorithms to ensure accuracy,” Borkholder said.

The technology was first developed for soldiers in Afghanistan in the company’s first sensor called Blast Gauge System.

Currently about 18,000 units are made and shipped to the Department of Defense on a monthly basis. The company can make up to 32,000 of the products a month.

Borkholder said in both products, head impact data is sent directly to smart devices and stored as part of an athlete or soldier’s history.

“There’s emerging evidence that repetitive sub concussive hits are causing changes in the brain,” Borkholder said. “Those are changes that for long term implications aren’t yet understood.”

Linx IAS will go on sale to the public this year; an exact date has not been announced.

The suggested retail price is $199, but the official price will be announced closer to the product’s launch in the market.

“It’s nice because now I know if I do get hit too hard, my coach knows to take me out of the ring,” said Robertson. “If I do get hit too hard, they’ll know to test me for a concussion.”

To learn more about BlackBox Biometrics, Inc. and the Blast Gauge System and Linx IAS products, click here.

Combatting Concussions |